Egypt named as Arab candidate to be associated with Quartet
BERLIN: Germany suggested yesterday that the so-called Quartet of Middle East negotiators, be reactivated with help from Arab nations to address the current fighting in Lebanon.
The Quartet – the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations – drafted the long-stalled Road Map plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier suggested reviving the Mideast Quartet … to deal also with the conflict in Lebanon, spokesman Martin Jaeger told reporters. To do that, he recommended associating one or more Arab countries with the Mideast Quartet, Jaeger said.
He said Germany had not settled on what Arab countries might be involved – although he named Egypt, one of the two Arab nations that have peace treaties with Israel, as a possible candidate.
He said the Quartet has proven to be a very useful and constructive instrument in the stalled Mideast peace process.
Steinmeier has called for Syria to play a constructive part in defusing the crisis.
The minister plans to talk by telephone today with his Syrian counterpart, Jaeger said, but he refuses to speculate on whether Damascus could be associated with the Quartet.
With Syria, what we have to do now is take the first cautious steps, he said. We will now try to compare with the Syrians where possible common interests might lie.
German officials, who have stressed the commitment to Israel s right to exist, which results from their country s Nazi-era history, have skirted direct criticism of Israel in the current conflict.
Berlin has been calling for a cease-fire in the current crisis as quickly as possible, rather than immediately, as many of its European Union partners have demanded.
We all want the weapons to fall silent as quickly as possible, but at the same time we also all know that there cannot be a simple return to the situation before the outbreak of hostilities, Jaeger said Wednesday.
That means we need a solid cease-fire, and we are aware of the fact that a solution can be reached only step by step.